Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States.
With almost half of adults 65 years and older experiencing some form of this painful disorder, it’s a condition many of us will experience if we live long enough. In all, the Arthritis Foundation, which compiled these facts on arthritis sufferers in the U.S., estimates that 50 million adults, and even 1 in 250 children, suffer from arthritis.
At Ministry of Hemp, we’re always curious if hemp, and especially CBD oil, can improve people’s quality of life. Previously, we’ve looked at how hemp can help the elderly live less stressful lives. We’ve also looked at whether cannabidiol (CBD) can help other medical conditions like chronic pain and epilepsy. Since arthritis is so common, we thought it deserved a closer look.
CBD is a cannabinoid, meaning it’s a chemical relative of THC, the main active ingredient in psychoactive cannabis (also known as “marijuana”), but it doesn’t make people high. Instead, thousands of CBD users report that it eases inflammation and can even improve their mental state, such as anxiety. When we investigated CBD and arthritis, we discovered that hundreds of people are already using it to reduce their pain.
While CBD seems to help many people, it’s not a miracle cure, and it appears most people find CBD helpful in conjunction with a broad arthritis treatment plan, which can include exercise, changes to diet and prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs. Of course, this treatment plan should be guided by a medical professional.
As always in these articles, we’ll look at what science and medical professionals are saying about using CBD for arthritis, along with some reports from everyday CBD consumers.
‘Potent Anti-arthritic Effect’: Science Shows Cbd Could Slow Progression Of Arthritis
Unfortunately, while the safety of CBD is overall well established, when it comes to its effectiveness in treating various conditions there have been far too few studies on humans, and we frequently have to rely on animal studies. CBD and arthritis are no exception.
In one especially promising study, published in the June 2000 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, scientists artificially induced arthritic symptoms in mice, then treated them with CBD. Both oral and injected methods of administering CBD orally were equally effective, and CBD seemed to slow the progression of damage to the joints.
“Taken together, these data show that CBD, through its combined immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions, has a potent anti-arthritic effect,” the researchers concluded.
One preliminary study, published January 2006 by the journal Rheumatology, treated humans with arthritis using Sativex, an oral pharmaceutical created from cannabis extracts that includes both THC and CBD. In a fascinating aside, the authors note that cannabis was first proposed as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in 2800 B.C., but has often been dismissed by modern medicine despite anecdotal evidence of its usefulness. As for Sativex, the scientists were cautiously optimistic about its effectiveness with arthritis, though they stressed that “larger, more prolonged studies … are indicated.”
Of course, Sativex is not widely available in the United States, and psychoactive cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and inaccessible to many people in many parts of the country.
Study Shows Hundreds Using Cbd To Ease Arthritis Symptoms
Fortunately, hundreds of people with arthritis report a healing effect from using CBD alone, and CBD is available to almost anyone.
Over a quarter of those surveyed reported using CBD in some form to treat their arthritis, making it one of the top conditions found in the study.”
In August this year, cannabis-research firm Brightfield Group surveyed 2,400 users of HelloMD, a medical cannabis information site. This dramatic study, which we’ve looked at before, found widespread satisfaction with CBD among regular consumers, and even revealed that 42 percent of those surveyed had given up pharmaceutical drugs in favor of CBD.
Over a quarter of those surveyed reported using CBD in some form to treat their arthritis, making it one of the top conditions found in the study. However, only 11 percent of those people reported that CBD was “extremely effective” in treating their arthritis, suggesting that most find it best to combine CBD with more conventional arthritis treatments.
These results were generally echoed by the anecdotal evidence we found among arthritis sufferers who discussed CBD on reddit, both on the “thritis” subreddit devoted to the disorder and the general CBD subreddit: some users found CBD was helpful, while others had mixed results. Some redditors reported preferring high-CBD strains of psychoactive cannabis that can be purchased in states with legal recreational or medicinal cannabis, while many reported positive effects from CBD alone. Some redditors said they prefer vaping CBD during flare ups, as well.
One redditor named Heph333 said CBD combined with dietary changes had transformed their life. “Before, I was walking with a cane and two knee braces. Now I’m able to be physically active again.”
Heph333 concluded: “With the way I feel now compared to how I used to feel, I don’t dare go back. That includes making sure I never run out of CBD.”
Topical Versus Oral Use Of Cbd For Arthritis: Does It Matter?
Many people take CBD orally as a tincture, in capsules, or even as a CBD gummies. On the other hand, topical CBD is especially popular for treating inflammation, and joint pains caused by conditions like arthritis, as we’ve noted before here at Ministry of Hemp.
Researchers used a topical form in one 2016 study of artificially-induced arthritis in rats, published in the European Journal of Pain. Not only did CBD ease rats’ symptoms, but applying it to the skin also meant there were more consistent levels of CBD in the blood compared with oral administration, because none was metabolized by the liver.
Medical Marijuana, Inc. reported in April 2016 that, because topical CBD can bind directly to endocannabinoid receptors in the skin, it skips the bloodstream and therefore causes even fewer side effects than normal.
As always, we recommend that arthritis sufferers experiment with all the forms of CBD to find out what helps most.
Beyond CBD & Arthritis: More Research Needed To Unlock CBD’s Full Potential
From arthritis to schizophrenia, the more we learn about CBD the more we are in awe of its almost miraculous benefits. Yet even though scientists have studied this substance for decades (or even centuries!), the same sentiment repeats itself over and over again: more research is needed.
We hope a similar change is happening as more medical professionals embrace hemp’s vast potential. With so many of doctors’ patients already making use of CBD, it seems like it’s only matter of time until researchers give it the attention it deserves.
* This article is part 4 of our series of exploring the potential benefits of CBD oil. Read our other posts:
- Science Explains How CBD Oil Could Help Ease Your Anxiety
- Science Explains Why CBD Oil Could Help Ease Your Chronic Pain
- The Science Behind Why Schizophrenia Sufferers Use CBD Oil For Healing
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